American photographer Luke Somers, 33, and another hostage were killed by al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen during an attempted rescue operation by United States commandos, President Obama acknowledged on Saturday. Obama said that the hostages were “murdered” by the militants. Another official, speaking to the New York Times, said that Somers was “badly wounded” when commandos got to him and died by the time he was flown to a United States naval ship. The second hostage, a South African citizen, was Pierre Korkie.
This was the second failed attempt to rescue Somers, who was kidnapped from a street in Yemen's capital in September 2013. On Wednesday, al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula released a video threatening to kill Somers by the end of the week if demands were not met. Somers' family broke their silence after the video was released in a video of their own, in which they insisted they had no prior knowledge of the U.S.'s first rescue attempt. "Luke is only a photojournalist, and he is not responsible for any action the U.S. government has taken," said Somers's brother, Jordan.